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Canaris: Master Spy (1954)
"Canaris" (original title)

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Admiral Canaris is chief of the intelligence service of Nazi Germany. His department is quite successful and Hitler grants him all the money he wants for new developments. Still he's a ... See full summary »

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Title: Canaris: Master Spy (1954)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
O.E. Hasse ...
Barbara Rütting ...
Irene von Harbeck
Adrian Hoven ...
Capt. Althoff
Martin Held ...
...
Col. Holl
Peter Mosbacher ...
Fernandez
Charles Regnier ...
Baron Trenti
Franz Essel ...
Beckmann
Alice Treff ...
Fräulein Winter
Herbert Wilk ...
Hauptmann Degenhard
Klaus Miedel ...
André, franz. Offizier (as Claus Miedel)
Arthur Schröder ...
Herr von Harbeck
Ilse Fürstenberg ...
Anna Lüdtke
Arno Paulsen ...
Taxifahrer (Berlin)
Nora Hagist ...
Luftwaffenhelferin
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Storyline

Admiral Canaris is chief of the intelligence service of Nazi Germany. His department is quite successful and Hitler grants him all the money he wants for new developments. Still he's a thorn in the side of the Nazi chiefs, since he's not as unscrupulous as they want him and is known to criticize their ideology. Irene Heydrich is blackmailed to spy on Canaris just while he starts planning an attempt on Hitler's life. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"Canaris" Playing the Dangerous Dual Role - One, Right Hand Man to Hitler...The Other an Agent for the Allies of Europe!

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Biography | Drama

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Release Date:

6 May 1955 (Belgium)  »

Also Known As:

Canaris: Master Spy  »

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1.37 : 1
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Soundtracks

Lohengrin
Composed by Richard Wagner (uncredited)
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User Reviews

 
O.E. Hasse portrays Admiral Canaris, who, as head of the Abwehr, played a double game against Hitler
16 April 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I watched a clear full screen print of this movie, running 108 minutes. The title frames read "Un leben fur Deutschland" ADMIRAL CANARIS.

One seldom sees such a well-done biographically-based movie. The picture focuses on the head of Germany's intelligence (Abwehr) and spying operations between 1935 and the time of his arrest by Hitler in 1944. His imprisonment and execution are not mentioned or shown.

This is a highly intriguing story, done in a very engaging and mature way. It manages very smoothly to integrate personal details and subplots with documentary footage and suspenseful spy sequences. The acting is very realistic, the events plausible, although certainly the story has been dramatized. It might possibly be criticized for being somewhat episodic, but I do not see that as a fault because each of the selected incidents and sequences is handled adeptly.

The script is really first rate. We know the characters and understand them. The details are engaging, both of personal beliefs, personal feelings and tragedies, personal pressures, the spying operations, and the internal conflicts between Canaris and Heydrich. The scenes that are selected for our viewing are invariably interesting. The script wisely does not stay strictly on Canaris. It opens out to the relationship between one of his younger assistants (Adrian Hoven) and a young woman (Barbara Rutting) induced by Heydrich to spy on Canaris. It also works in spy sequences in France and London.

Canaris favored Hitler in 1937, as a counter to the Soviet Union, but he changed his mind in 1938 and then covertly worked against the Nazi excesses and mad schemes.

Canaris, a loyal German, is shown as seeking for Germany to avoid wars that he knew it could not win. He brings to light intelligence showing German's disadvantages, but it is typically ignored by the Nazi leadership. In 1938, Canaris plots against Hitler, planning a coup d'etat. This fizzles out due to Munich. He obviously walks a tightrope in his efforts to bring some sanity to the Hitler regime, maintaining cordial relations on the surface with Reinhold Heydrich. The latter is shown as constantly seeking to bring down Canaris so that he can take over the intelligence operations led by Canaris. The conflict between the traditional values of Canaris and those of Heydrich is brought out. Hitler is seen and heard briefly and only in documentary footage.

O.E. Hasse does a great job in the role of Canaris. He's assisted ably by Wolfgang Preiss as his right-hand man. Martin Held does an exceptional job as Heydrich. The rest of the cast equally carry their roles smoothly and engagingly.

The photography is in noir style in many scenes. This adds.

Certainly anyone with an interest in this historical era, fans of spy movies, fans of intrigue, and those with an interest in films that involve Nazis will not want to pass up seeing this film if they have the opportunity.


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